Identity Automation's Identity and Access Management Blog

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Scott Kortright has been a technology marketer for 20 years across a diverse set of industries and specializes in Technology Product Marketing and Sales Enablement. As Identity Automation’s Director of Marketing, Scott leads the company in the development, planning, and execution of strategic go-to-market, communications, and product marketing initiatives. He is an avid Syracuse Orange fan, doting father, border collie lover, and happy Blue Apron customer.

While every business faces some level of transience in its operations—namely employee or customer churn—community colleges, by the nature of their business, face the issue on a massive scale. For example, At Lone Star College, the nation’s third-largest higher-education system, up to 40 percent of the schools’ 100,000 students are transient users.

2016 was the year of the hacker. From Russian hackers targeting US elections to the jaw-dropping compromise of more than 1 million Yahoo! user accounts and the DDoS attack that "broke the Internet," it seems like hacks and data breaches were in the news every day. Russian hackers aside, ransomware was the cybersecurity topic that captured the year’s headlines.

Previously in our two-part series on the identity and access challenges unique to higher education, we discussed users with multiple roles, the increasing use of technology in the classroom, and limited budget and manpower. As you may already have guessed, these challenges are just the beginning.

In today’s educational landscape, universities and colleges face distinct identity and access challenges unlike those encountered in retail and other commercial environments. And while retail, financial services, and the like are generally viewed as higher-risk from a cybersecurity point of view, the risks to higher education are just as critical. In fact, higher education “accounts for 17 percent of all reported data breaches, ranking second only to the medical industry,” according to Privacy Rights Clearing House. In this first post of our two-part series, we will take a look at some of these  challenges that are unique to higher education.

As the higher education landscape evolves, the community college system is growing in importance. For example, it is now commonplace for community college campuses, such as Houston Community College (HCC) and California Community College System, to serve as physical locations for associated state university classes. With this partnership in place, state universities can increase revenue and serve a broader student population, working to educate students who previously would not have been able to attend university classes.

 

Are you using an identity and access management (IAM) solution designed for the enterprise to manage user identities and access privileges at your community college or university? If so, then you’ve likely already run into some serious difficulties—and if you haven’t yet, it’s only a matter of time. An increasingly complex IT environment and growing number of users that require access to systems and data have made user identity and permissions management more challenging than ever, particularly in higher-education institutions.

You may be working alongside one of them and not even realize it: a substitute teacher, an adjunct professor, or a special education contractor. They’re all contingent workers - employees hired for a time period of one year or less with a specific end date; they could be full-time or part-time. Over the past decade, a trend has emerged in academia of these contingent workers being hired, and we’ve seen it accelerate at an increasingly high rate over the past few years.

In a previous post, we discussed about understanding how, and if, new educational apps align with your school’s data and student privacy policies. With the overwhelming amount of educational apps currently available and new ones popping up everyday, it can sometimes be difficult to shuffle through them to find those that meet the teacher’s need and also provide the security needed to protect the personal information of the teachers and students using them. With all that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of top ranked educational freemium applications that we came across in the marketplace this year.

Whether you’re a teacher or an IT admin, you’ve probably seen a number of articles and blog posts recapping the best new apps for the classroom released in 2015. Since we speak so often with schools around the country, we’ve heard a lot about all these apps -- good, bad and otherwise. We also realized there’s something far more important to convey to you as you look for potential apps to use in the classroom.